Limor Fried

Adafruit Industries, LLC

Engineer, Founder, Owner

I’m passionate about manufacturing open-source educational electronics here in New York City to help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, artists, and makers.”

Limor founded Adafruit Industries in her dorm room at MIT in 2005 to provide electronics kits to hobby enthusiasts. Today, Adafruit is both a provider of educational electronics and the top source of educational materials to young makers. In addition to revitalizing manufacturing in downtown Manhattan and drawing more small businesses to the area, Limor has grown her 100 percent-woman-owned company to over 100 employees.

While most successful companies closely guard their designs as trade secrets, all of Adafruit’s products are open-source: the designs and code are all online, freely available for others to use and remix. Limor has also taken the cover off how to successfully run a small manufacturing company, by transparently sharing her successes and learning methodologies. In the Adafruit Learning System and in various videos, she demonstrates how a small business can build, invest and grow. Limor also contributes to others’ success by hosting “Ask an Engineer,” a long-running live internet show, and “Show and Tell,” which invites makers to share their creations.

Limor enjoys speaking to groups about creativity and business success. For instance, she spoke at this year’s USA Science and Engineering Festival. Telling the students, “If you can dream it, you can build it,” and “Hack it,” she encouraged them to take things around them and create what they want. Due to Limor sharing her story and encouraging others in presentations such as this, Adafruit has received hundreds of messages weekly from people who have been inspired to design, build, and take apart things.

Serving as a role model to thousands of young girls and boys through her outreach efforts, Limor demonstrates that women can be successful engineers and scientists. Her demonstrations show that the STEM/STEAM field is not only for an elite few, but can be attainable and enjoyable for many.